Below, experts on introversion share their best advice for putting yourself out there.
1. Remember that small talk has a purpose.
Small talk is the bane of most introverts’ existence. Why not just cut to the chase and get to real, meaningful conversation? Though small talk can feel a bit hollow and superficial, it’s not supposed to be profound; it’s merely a way of connecting with another person, said Sophia Dembling, author of Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After
“The conversation may or may not go deeper, but trying to start a conversation in the deep end can be very risky,” Dembling said. “It can come off as dumping TMI on the other person.”
Another thing to keep in mind as you go forth and date: Don’t worry if the other person suspects you’re trying to flirt with them ― that’s exactly what you’re trying to do, Dembing reminded.
“Any decent human being, interested or not, will take polite flirtation as the compliment it is.”
2. Party in moderation.
Introverts tend to clam up at big parties, seeking out the nearest snack table, dog or cat. Not going to gatherings ― or decamping to the corner once you get there ― will limit your opportunities to meet new people. Instead, make an effort to socialize on your own terms, said writer and self-professed introvert Jill Savage.
“Introverts do better in smaller groups so instead of staying all evening at the office party, go for a short amount of time and then invite two or three people you like to join you for dessert somewhere else after the party,” Savage said. “You’ll still be socializing but in an environment you’re comfortable in.”
3. Be open to random conversations.
The next time you head out to your favorite coffee shop, don’t be so quick to put in your earphones; Instead, be open to the flurry of conversation around you, said Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, the author of The Genius of Opposites: How Introverts and Extroverts Achieve Extraordinary Results Together.
“Opportunities to get off our phones and truly engage are all around if we take the time to look,” she told HuffPost. “I know of several quieter friends who have met their future spouses through chance, random conversations.”
4. Meet new people online.
Introverts tend to communicate better in writing than in conversation. With that in mind, join an online message board for your favorite sports team, or become a fixture in the comment section of a news site, said Laurie Helgoe, a psychologist and the author of Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength.
“Luckily for introverts, the Internet provides ample opportunities to use our writing skills to reach beyond small talk to connection,” she said.
5. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not (like an extrovert).
It won’t do you any favors to skirt the truth when drafting an online dating profile, said Arnie Kozak, a psychotherapist and the author of The Awakened Introvert. If you say you love checking out new clubs and lounges in town, you’re liable to end up at one.
“Clearly state (with pride) that you are an introvert and don’t be afraid to ask someone if he or she is an introvert,” Kozak said. “Knowing all this will make it easier to arrange your first date in a conducive place.”
6. Take the spotlight off yourself.
There are two types of people in this world. Those who walk into a room with a “here I am” mindset and those who walk into a room with a “there you are” mindset, Savage said.
“When you walk into a social setting, instead of being overwhelmed by the crowd and thinking, ‘Here I am, please someone come talk to me,’ pick out one or two people and say to yourself, ‘There you are. I’d like to get to know you better.’ Then focus on striking up a conversation with the person, one at a time.”
7. Keep rejection in perspective.
Try not to dwell too much on romantic rejection, Dembling said.
“It’s not a reflection on you,” she said. “This person doesn’t know you and so the rejection is not personal. It’s most likely about whatever is happening in that person’s life or head at that moment.”
8. Focus on a hobby and meeting people organically through activities.
Be willing to go outside your comfort zone, if only just a little, Helgoe said.
“Take a class, book an expedition, volunteer for a cause you care about,” she said. “Plus, how much better is this option than suffering at a bar, enduring cheesy pickup lines?”